Brewing American History George Washington

Budweiser has dug deep in the annals of American history for its latest brew.

Inspired by a hand-written recipe uncovered in George Washington’s journal kept during the French and Indian War in 1757, the brewing behemoth has brought Washington’s beer back to life in the form of Freedom Reserve Red Lager.     Read more

Pepperbox Pistols Last Line of Defense

When looking at a pepperbox pistol, one can’t help but to conjure-up nostalgic visions of a bygone era―a gambler firing upon a card cheat, a gold prospector protecting his claim against hostiles, or a Civil War soldier pulling a pistol from his boot as a last line of defense in heated battle.   Read more

Hawaiian-Cache- Bottles-Stoneware-Relics-Blog

As I slowly winded my way through the twists and turns of the Hamakua Coast, I relished the cool Hawaiian air. The air was soft; almost silk-like, and it overwhelmed my senses with the tropical smell of sweet grass, fruit, and salt. It was June 2, 2017 and I was on assignment with American Digger Magazine, in search of a story. The magazine arranged for me to meet brothers Brent and Blake Cousins at their home on the Big Island of Hawaii. My assignment was to come away with a story on their bottle hunting escapades. Read more

Nassau Selters

Several months ago, I was invited by Butch Holcombe, the publisher of American Digger Magazine, to join him on a metal detecting trip to historic Augusta, Georgia. As I soon learned, the city is undertaking an aggressive “beautification” plan, in which public and private developers are reclaiming abandoned and condemned properties, tearing down dilapidated houses, and replacing them with new ones. Our mission? To search recently bulldozed lots for historical remnants of the past. Read more

Civil War Horse Photographer Alexander B Foals

Alexander Barnard Foal (April 1, 1830 – January 16, 1896) was one of the earliest photographers in American history, best known for his spectacular images of service horses, captured during the American Civil War. His photographs, and those he commissioned, had a tremendous impact during the war, and their reverberations continue to be felt today. He and his employees photographed thousands of scenes, including battlefields, camp life, naval scenes, and portraits of some of the most famous military figures of his time, including Winfield Scott, George B. McClellan, George Armstrong Custer, and of course, their majestic steeds. Read more

Sordid History of the Term Picker

In the antiques world, when someone says picker, the image of a distinguished, high-end art dealer doesn’t come to mind. Although they serve a critical role within the antiques trade, pickers are often considered to be the bottom-feeders of the industry. But why?

As I’ve come to learn, the term “picker”, and its uncomplimentary connotation, is steeped in the gutters and sewers of history. Henry Mayhew, the author behind the mammoth four-volume study of London Labour and the London Poor, points to two Victorian era (1837–1901) occupations that gave birth to the term “picker.”   Read more

While photographs from earlier conflicts exist, the American Civil War is widely recognized as the first major war to be extensively photographed. Thanks in large part to such photographers as Alexander Gardner, Mathew Brady, and Timothy O’Sullivan, for the first time in history, ordinary citizens could view the carnage of war waged on faraway battlefields. As intriguing as their photographs are, I’ve always found them to be incomplete. They seem to lack the emotion and intimacy of what it was like to be a soldier―both on and off the battlefield. It’s for that reason, that I’ve always been drawn to the artwork created by the men that actually fought the war. Read more

Valentines Day Origins

The origins of Valentine’s Day, its namesake, and the date it’s celebrated on, are all shrouded in a murky cloud of paganism, Christianity, martyrdom, poetry, and a healthy dose of speculation. And here you thought Valentine’s Day was all about sappy cards, heart-shaped chocolates, red roses, sparkling jewelry, and fancy feasts! Read more

Cracker Barrel Antiques Blog

Growing up, I was raised on a steady diet of southern comfort food dished out by Cracker Barrel restaurants. To this day, I’m well acquainted with the Fancy Fixin’ menu and the wide array of antique décor that precariously hangs from every conceivable surface inside the Old Country Store. While the food is diabetically delicious, it’s the antiques that have always caught my attention and sparked my curiosity. I’ve often wondered why certain objects are selected for display, where they come from, and if they’re real. Read more

The rickety wooden floors pop and squeak under the weight of my footsteps. The dull hum and soft glow of display lights creates a warm and inviting ambiance. The air is filled with a bouquet of earthy notes, hints of acidity, a tang of linseed oil and vanilla, over an underlying mossy dankness. Those unmistakable smells are not that of a well-aged Merlot, but that of the Civil War relics shops that I frequented in my youth. Shops that might as well be listed as “endangered”, right alongside the Civil War battlefields whose history they so beautifully bring alive. Read more